The future of workplace collaboration: a Q&A with LogMeIn

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Today's workplaces are more collaborative than ever with businesses using solutions such as video conferencing and virtual meeting rooms to work together with employees from other offices and even other regions. To help facilitate even further collaboration in the workplace, LogMeIn recently launched its new unified communications brand Go To.

TechRadar Pro spoke with the company's Vice President of Product Marketing UCC Jim Somers to learn more about the new brand and what the future holds for the connected workplace.

Are today’s workers overwhelmed by the sheer number of enterprise chat and video conferencing applications they need to use every day in the office?

Due to the explosion of collaboration technologies in recent years, a plethora of tools have become available that can aid communication and day-to-day activities in the workplace. However, many organisations are now suffering from having too many collaboration tools which is ultimately decreasing their productivity and hindering communication.

Organisations need to find a middle ground when adopting the right collaboration tools and use each according to their purpose. Many employees have different tech preferences and communication styles which organisations need to streamline by adopting an all-in-one solution. 

The simplicity that this will create is second to none. Having an all-in-one solution will create greater efficiency and productivity to all organisations. The organisational impact of virtual meetings and virtual collaboration technologies will facilitate greater cooperation and will develop team decision making. 

Ultimately, due to the growing trend of employees working remotely, a unified method needs to be adopted for companies to achieve peak collaboration how, where and when their employees choose to work.

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Has the growth of both flexible and remote working led to an increase in the number of communication tools in the workplace?

An estimated 4 million people already work remotely in the UK, with the figure predicted to grow even further to half the UK workforce in 2020. The concept of flexible working is clearly here to stay.

Employers have realised  the benefits that these initiatives can bring to their workforce. In particular, ‘smarter’ working practices such as remote working have proven to improve mental health, support efficiency and even boost productivity.

With mobile and advanced collaboration technologies becoming more widely adopted, employees working remotely will no longer have to compromise on communication and collaboration with their fellow employees. From facilitating remote meetings, technologies such as unified collaboration platforms and video meeting tools now enable employees to work from anywhere.

Organisations need to facilitate this by introducing a flexible working environment that is as productive as it is collaborative. It is only by listening to employee’s needs and adopting smarter working techniques that businesses will succeed in today’s climate.  

Why have virtual meeting rooms become more popular with businesses recently?

Over recent years, virtual meeting rooms and unified collaboration technologies have become increasingly popular with businesses who want to increase their internal and external communications. Making use of virtual meeting rooms allows employees to communicate with others regardless of their geographic location and will enable face-to-face communication in real time.

The benefits that virtual meeting rooms create is what has spiked the interest of many businesses over time. With traditional ways of working now in the past, new innovative methods are being introduced which can improve employee productivity. Virtual meetings rooms do just that. Video enabled conference rooms provide the benefits of face-to-face meetings, such as reading facial cues and body language, even when they may be miles apart.

Introducing new technology will keep workforces happy and provide ease in the long term. Making use of virtual meeting rooms will create a collaborative atmosphere that will change the way normal meetings take place whether colleagues and partners are in the same room, or around the Globe.

Ultimately, as businesses advance and modernise, collaboration technology will become embedded in the culture of the workplace.

Can you tell us about GoToRoom and how the solution can turn conference rooms into video-enabled collaborative meeting spaces?

In today’s workplace, collaboration can happen anywhere and everywhere. Meetings are held from home or at a coffee shop or on the morning commute. Collaboration needs to be fluid as the boundaries between work and life become more intertwined. More and more workers are realising that small group sessions are where work gets done and more often than not – not everyone is in the same place at the same time. Increasingly, this is forcing organisations to look at how to enable collaboration anywhere and everywhere. 

GoToRoom is a new, redesigned room experience under the GoTo brand. It enables workforces to easily transform their work environment into a more collaborative experience, providing hassle-free video conferencing through GoToMeeting. It is multifunctional, providing several configurations depending on what your workforce is looking for. In particular, businesses are able to select the system that meets their needs, room size and budget, to ultimately boost their collaboration.

The solution is more turn key and can be set up in just minutes without IT intervention, easier to use and more cost effective.

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GoToConnect combines video conferencing, VoIP, SMS and visual voicemail in one application. What led to your company’s decision to combine these separate services into a single app?

The significant amount of time people spend on switching between apps needs to change. The time spent between apps is leading to the decrease in productivity in the workplace which is becoming a burden to many organisations, and the market is demanding a change to application use. This is why in April of 2018 we decided to acquire a cloud telephony company called Jive Communications. With Jive a part of LogMeIn we now had all the pieces to create and offer a robust UCaaS product.

The European availability of GoToConnect and GoToRoom in the UK, Ireland and Germany will help facilitate this need and will provide the option for organisations to become more collaborative, which will in turn boost productivity. 

GoToConnect offers customers powerful audio, video and screensharing capabilities combined with cloud-based telephony in one integrated simple user experience. It brings together the power and reliability of GoToMeeting and Jive for professional web, audio and video conferencing, presence, VoIP calling, SMS/text messaging, visual voicemail and more in one application. It offers a fully-integrated application for workers to easily connect and communicate — internally and externally — via a web browser or a downloadable desktop app. This is exactly what the market is demanding.

Ultimately, GoToConnect allows users to seamlessly switch between different modes of communication in one easy to manage app, which is the most intuitive in the meetings and UCC market.

What are the biggest hurdles organisations face when it comes to video conferencing?

Video conferencing has developed over the years to become a vital business tool for all organisations – big and small. With the development of key technology, more companies are choosing to adopt video conferencing as a way for employees to work with each other in the most efficient way possible. But what is stopping all employees from fully adopting this technology?

Organisations need to ensure that they fully understand its true benefits. When adopting it, all employers must understand the advantages that increased communication and collaboration can have on a business. They need to become more educated on the advancements of collaboration platforms which can enable employees to work from anywhere whilst still allowing them to focus on their work.

Simultaneously, many organisations need to ensure that the right culture is set in place in the work environment to facilitate video. Organisations need to understand the need for transforming their workplace to create a truly integrated and collaborative business culture which will ultimately enable productivity and efficiency.

In recent years organisations have slowly learnt that video is crucial to productivity and developing relationships with a global dispersed work force. With organisations now adopting more collaboration tools, there is no doubt that hurdles will be overcome to allow for smarter working techniques to be established. 

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How do you think video conferencing will evolve in the future and will it differ greatly from the solutions available today?

We see this in two ways. 

The future is all about the rise of the Huddle Room – a small meeting area fully equipped with collaboration technologies. Video conferencing tech and hardware is getting smaller, and easier to use, without sacrificing quality. This leads to excellent opportunities for businesses with limited office space or budgets, as they can invest in Huddle Room solutions. 

With just the accompanying camera equipment and software, companies can quickly and easily install these solutions to make use of rooms. This opens opportunities for unused spaces which are otherwise too small or lack the setup for a traditional video conferencing system.  At a time when every penny counts, Huddle Rooms are the perfect opportunity for businesses to maximise their collaborative space.

We also see consolidation as a key area of focus. Employees want to be able to seamlessly switch between communication modes without wasting time. With the rise of truly unified UCC products, this is coming to fruition.